Not enough can be said of New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s performance over the last two weeks.
Gilmore has faced tough assignments, lining up across from Kansas City Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins in Week 6 and Chicago Bears wideout Allen Robinson in Week 7. Gilmore has allowed two catches on just eight targets for 18 yards in those two games. This is what the Patriots thought they were getting when they paid big money for Gilmore on the open market.
“I can cover anybody,” Gilmore said Sunday. “It’s just whoever they say to cover, that’s who I go to.”
Gilmore personally blanked Robinson, who had just one catch for 4 yards overall, on Sunday in the Patriots’ 38-31 win over the Bears. He was kicking himself after the game for dropping an interception in the end zone, but there was no need. Gilmore was phenomenal Sunday afternoon.
Let’s get into this week’s takeaways and metrics. All stats via Pro Football Focus.
CB Jonathan Jones: seven catches, 10 targets, 92 yards, TD, INT
CB Jason McCourty: 2-4, 64 yards
SS Patrick Chung: 7-10, 49 yards, TD
LB Elandon Roberts: 3-4, 36 yards
LB Dont’a Hightower: 2-2, 31 yards
LB Kyle Van Noy: 2-2, 21 yards
CB JC Jackson: 1-3, 21 yards, INT
CB Eric Rowe: 1-4, 16 yards
CB Keion Crossen: 1-1, 3 yards
CB Stephon Gilmore: 0-4
FS Devin McCourty: 0-1
— Quite a performance from Gilmore. Read the lede.
— Devin McCourty had a fantastic bounce-back game after letting up two touchdowns in consecutive weeks.
— Many of the yards above were let up to tight end Trey Burton in zone coverage, where it’s difficult to assign blame. Burton caught nine passes for 126 yards with a touchdown. Running back Tarik Cohen was second on the team with eight catches for 69 yards with a score. The Patriots’ have issues covering tight ends and running backs.
— Jackson and Jason McCourty swapped in the No. 2 cornerback role for most of the night. McCourty finished with 55 of 82 snaps, while Jackson had 31. Jones had 49, Rowe 28 and Keion Crossen 1.
LB Kyle Van Noy: five hurries
DE Trey Flowers: three hurries
DT Danny Shelton: two hurries
DE Adrian Clayborn: sack
DE Deatrich Wise: sack
LB Elandon Roberts: QB hit
CB Jonathan Jones: QB hit
SS Patrick Chung: QB hit
DT Malcom Brown: hurry
FS Devin McCourty: hurry
CB Eric Rowe: hurry
— It wasn’t exactly the most prolific pass-rushing day for the Patriots, but they did enough to force some mistakes and make some plays.
— Clayborn finally got on board with a sack. He brought pressure but wasn’t collecting sacks in his first six games in a Patriots uniform. In this game, he finished with a sack but didn’t bring as much pressure. The Patriots probably would prefer the former.
— Van Noy received his most pass-rushing opportunities of the season with 42 snaps. He made the most of them by recording a season-high five pressures.
DE Trey Flowers: two stops
LB Kyle Van Noy: two stops
LB Dont’a Hightower: stop
LB Elandon Roberts: stop
DE Adrian Clayborn: stop
DT Malcom Brown: stop
DT Danny Shelton: stop
DT Lawrence Guy: stop
CB Eric Rowe: stop
CB Stephon Gilmore: stop
FS Devin McCourty: stop
— The Patriots allowed 81 yards on just six carries to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky but allowed just 2.9 yards per carry to running backs Jordan Howard and Cohen. The Patriots’ biggest issue in run defense clearly was containing Trubisky.
— Only Gilmore and Keion Crossen were charged with missed tackles, but there were many whiffs in the backfield while pressuring Trubisky.
C David Andrews: four hurries
RT LaAdrian Waddle: two hurries
LT Trent Brown: hurry
— Left guard Joe Thuney, right guard Shaq Mason, running back James White, tight end Dwayne Allen and running back Sony Michel were clean in pass protection.
— Pro Football Focus didn’t charge anyone with linebacker Roquan Smith’s sack. It appeared to come on a busted screen.
— Sorry to use such technical jargon, but the Patriots’ pass protection has been, as they say in the business, “really good” in recent weeks. Mason ranks first in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency rating.
— Of quarterback Tom Brady’s 11 incompletions, three were dropped and two were thrown away.
— Brady was 0-of-2 on passes 20 yards or more.
— Wide receiver Josh Gordon had two drops. Running back James White had the other one.
— Gordon continues to show his immense upside despite the drops. He caught four passes for 100 yards including a 55-yarder.
— Wide receiver Chris Hogan continues to emerge after a slow start to the season. He had six catches for 63 yards on seven targets.
— Edelman was quiet in the second half but picked up his second touchdown of the season early. He was convinced he caught a pass that officials believe hit the ground. The Patriots didn’t challenge, and CBS never bothered to show a replay. Guess we’ll never know.
RB Kenjon Barner: three forced missed tackles, 1.5 yards after contact per atttempt
RB James White: one forced missed tackle, 1.45 yards after contact per attempt
RB Sony Michel: .75 yards after contact per attempt
— Michel went down with a knee injury in the second quarter. If it’s a long-term issue, the Patriots will need to add a running back before Rex Burkhead can return off injured reserve in Week 14. Mike Gillislee is a free agent. The Patriots also could trade for a running back or sign Kenneth Farrow off the practice squad.
— Barner carried the ball 10 times for 36 yards. White carried the ball 11 times for 40 yards. Neither back is a traditional between-the-tackles option.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to ProFootballFocus.com.